Looking for Industrial Freezer or Cooler Space in Houston, TX? There isn’t any!Posted
I have written before that there seems to be a possible surplus of distribution warehouse space right now, either existing or under construction, in the Houston area. However, if what you need is refrigerated space, the short answer is: there isn’t any. There are a few larger buildings which contain “some” refrigerated space but this is generally associated with dry warehousing space and isn’t available for lease or purchase, independent of the remainder of the space.
If you require refrigerated space in Houston right now, there are two choices: 1) lease or buy dry warehouse space and build in the refrigerated space, or 2) build it from scratch.
Industrial Cooler Space
Cooler space is easier because special preparation of the building slab is not necessary. Cooler space can be for beverages (about 40 Deg. F), vegetables (about 45-50 Deg. F), candy and other similar products (55-60 Deg. F) or dock space outside the actual refrigerated boxes (about 50-55 Deg. F) to position the products for shipment. A qualified contractor can construct moveable panels and build a cooler refrigerator box inside an existing office warehouse building which can be expanded as needed and/or dis-assembled and moved to another building if needed. A cooler box system would include the compressor, the air handler and the box itself and the approximate cost is about $55.00 per square foot (psf). Including design and permitting, the construction project would take 4-5 months to complete. Electrical power necessary to run this equipment should be a 480 Volt, 3 Phase, approx. 400 Amp service.
Industrial Freezer Space
If a freezer is what is needed, it also can be “built-in” but it’s more complicated. Freezer space can be used for ice cream (-10 Deg. F) and meats (zero Deg. F). If it is a temporary installation, the contractor puts down, on top of the existing slab, 6” of specialty insulation and a 4” slab on top of that and add a 10 ft. long ramp to get into the box. If it is permanent freezer space, they would break out the slab, put down 18” of gravel, a 3” sub-slab, 6” insulation on top of that and a 4” finished slab into which is put heater tape. An industrial freezer cooling down to -10 Deg. F can be served with Freon refrigeration efficiently. Larger industrial cooling units could use an ammonia system but this is tricky equipment to run and maintain and would generally require a knowledgeable operations person on staff. Ammonia also can be explosive so neighbors nearby should be carefully considered (schools, residential, churches, etc.). The freezer moveable panel unit built into an existing dry warehouse space as outlined above would cost approx. $70-$75 psf. Permanent construction inside an existing warehouse would cost approximately $80-$90 psf. New construction of cooler and freezer facilities can exceed $100-$120 psf, including the building slab, walls and roof on a vacant site. Office space would add to that.
Food and beverage distribution companies in the Houston area have a challenge finding existing refrigerated facilities. Speculative investment builders do not build this type of product unless they have a prospect already signed up, because it is very expensive. Lease rates historically can exceed $1.00 psf/mo for just the basic building.
There will always be demand for these specialty commercial freezer and cooler distribution warehouse space in the Houston area and, as in the past, it will continue to be hard to find and expensive to obtain.
Stay tuned …………
Michael Hill Properties offers more than 40 years of experience in brokering commercial industrial properties, such as distribution warehousing and manufacturing, for sale and lease in the Greater Houston Area as well as outside of Houston. For more information on Michael Hill Properties, visit mhprop.comor call (713) 960-6060.